Great-tailed Grackle Nesting, Ellis Creek, 2017

by Apr 3, 2017Birds, Bob Dyer

From Bob Dyer, doing what he did best, sharing his love of nature, esp. birds: 


My images of Great-tailed Grackle in the Petaluma Wetlands go back to 2006, about the time they arrived here from the Southwest. Several years ago, I saw a nest in Pond D of Ellis Creek but never any young associated with it. I have photographed young in Ellis Creek so I know the species has nested successfully here.

 April 1, 2017. Next to Pond C, I saw an adult male on top of the photo board there. It was looking down.

Here is what he was watching: A female was gathering dead grass – obviously, nesting material!

I watched her fly down to a large clump of tule in the western part of the seasonal pond at the entrance to the facility. She made several trips. The male followed but landed on the photo board next to the park bench, and not far (75 feet?) from the clump.

I sat on the bench, after he flew to the top of the tule’s. This was a great spot to view the nest site, but she was not visible, obviously inside,  forming the conical nest they make. Visible activity slowed, so I left.

April 2, 2017. All was quiet as  I walked past my “viewing bench” so I decided to view the ponds for any new activity. Soon as I got to the trail south of Pond C, I looked down and now there was activity on the nesting site. Both the male and female were there.

This is looking north from Pond C, so 90 degrees more than if you saw them from the bench. The male is upper-right and she is outside her nest.  Returning to the bench, I spotted her entering it. And then there was peace and quiet – so much so, that I left her to her work.

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